(a) “Agency” means the Agency for Health Care Administration.
(b) “Fiscal agent” means any individual, firm, corporation, partnership, organization, or other legal entity that has contracted with the agency to receive, process, and adjudicate claims under the Medicaid program.
(c) “Item or service” includes:
1. Any particular item, device, medical supply, or service claimed to have been provided to a recipient and listed in an itemized claim for payment; or
2. In the case of a claim based on costs, any entry in the cost report, books of account, or other documents supporting such claim.
(d) “Knowingly” means that the act was done voluntarily and intentionally and not because of mistake or accident. As used in this section, the term “knowingly” also includes the word “willfully” or “willful” which, as used in this section, means that an act was committed voluntarily and purposely, with the specific intent to do something that the law forbids, and that the act was committed with bad purpose, either to disobey or disregard the law.
(e) “Managed care plans” means a health insurer authorized under chapter 624, an exclusive provider organization authorized under chapter 627, a health maintenance organization authorized under chapter 641, the Children’s Medical Services Network authorized under chapter 391, a prepaid health plan authorized under this chapter, a provider service network authorized under this chapter, a minority physician network authorized under this chapter, and an emergency department diversion program authorized under this chapter or the General Appropriations Act, providing health care services pursuant to a contract with the Medicaid program.
(2)(a) A person may not:
1. Knowingly make, cause to be made, or aid and abet in the making of any false statement or false representation of a material fact, by commission or omission, in any claim submitted to the agency or its fiscal agent or a managed care plan for payment.
2. Knowingly make, cause to be made, or aid and abet in the making of a claim for items or services that are not authorized to be reimbursed by the Medicaid program.
3. Knowingly charge, solicit, accept, or receive anything of value, other than an authorized copayment from a Medicaid recipient, from any source in addition to the amount legally payable for an item or service provided to a Medicaid recipient under the Medicaid program or knowingly fail to credit the agency or its fiscal agent for any payment received from a third-party source.
4. Knowingly make or in any way cause to be made any false statement or false representation of a material fact, by commission or omission, in any document containing items of income and expense that is or may be used by the agency to determine a general or specific rate of payment for an item or service provided by a provider.
5. Knowingly solicit, offer, pay, or receive any remuneration, including any kickback, bribe, or rebate, directly or indirectly, overtly or covertly, in cash or in kind, in return for referring an individual to a person for the furnishing or arranging for the furnishing of any item or service for which payment may be made, in whole or in part, under the Medicaid program, or in return for obtaining, purchasing, leasing, ordering, or arranging for or recommending, obtaining, purchasing, leasing, or ordering any goods, facility, item, or service, for which payment may be made, in whole or in part, under the Medicaid program.
6. Knowingly submit false or misleading information or statements to the Medicaid program for the purpose of being accepted as a Medicaid provider.
7. Knowingly use or endeavor to use a Medicaid provider’s identification number or a Medicaid recipient’s identification number to make, cause to be made, or aid and abet in the making of a claim for items or services that are not authorized to be reimbursed by the Medicaid program.
(b)1. A person who violates this subsection and receives or endeavors to receive anything of value of:
a. Ten thousand dollars or less commits a felony of the third degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082, s. 775.083, or s. 775.084.
b. More than $10,000, but less than $50,000, commits a felony of the second degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082, s. 775.083, or s. 775.084.
c. Fifty thousand dollars or more commits a felony of the first degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082, s. 775.083, or s. 775.084.
2. The value of separate funds, goods, or services that a person received or attempted to receive pursuant to a scheme or course of conduct may be aggregated in determining the degree of the offense.
3. In addition to the sentence authorized by law, a person who is convicted of a violation of this subsection shall pay a fine in an amount equal to five times the pecuniary gain unlawfully received or the loss incurred by the Medicaid program or managed care organization, whichever is greater.
(3) The repayment of Medicaid payments wrongfully obtained, or the offer or endeavor to repay Medicaid funds wrongfully obtained, does not constitute a defense to, or a ground for dismissal of, criminal charges brought under this section.
(4) Property “paid for” includes all property furnished to or intended to be furnished to any recipient of benefits under the Medicaid program, regardless of whether reimbursement is ever actually made by the program.
(5) All records in the custody of the agency or its fiscal agent which relate to Medicaid provider fraud are business records within the meaning of s. 90.803(6).
(6) Proof that a claim was submitted to the agency or its fiscal agent which contained a false statement or a false representation of a material fact, by commission or omission, unless satisfactorily explained, gives rise to an inference that the person whose signature appears as the provider’s authorizing signature on the claim form, or whose signature appears on an agency electronic claim submission agreement submitted for claims made to the fiscal agent by electronic means, had knowledge of the false statement or false representation. This subsection applies whether the signature appears on the claim form or the electronic claim submission agreement by means of handwriting, typewriting, facsimile signature stamp, computer impulse, initials, or otherwise.
(7) Proof of submission to the agency or its fiscal agent of a document containing items of income and expense, which document is used or that may be used by the agency or its fiscal agent to determine a general or specific rate of payment and which document contains a false statement or a false representation of a material fact, by commission or omission, unless satisfactorily explained, gives rise to the inference that the person who signed the certification of the document had knowledge of the false statement or representation. This subsection applies whether the signature appears on the document by means of handwriting, typewriting, facsimile signature stamp, electronic transmission, initials, or otherwise.
(8) A person who provides the state, any state agency, any of the state’s political subdivisions, or any agency of the state’s political subdivisions with information about fraud or suspected fraud by a Medicaid provider, including a managed care organization, is immune from civil liability for providing the information unless the person acted with knowledge that the information was false or with reckless disregard for the truth or falsity of the information.
(9) The Attorney General shall conduct a statewide program of Medicaid fraud control. To accomplish this purpose, the Attorney General shall:
(a) Investigate the possible criminal violation of any applicable state law pertaining to fraud in the administration of the Medicaid program, in the provision of medical assistance, or in the activities of providers of health care under the Medicaid program.
(b) Investigate the alleged abuse or neglect of patients in health care facilities receiving payments under the Medicaid program, in coordination with the agency.
(c) Investigate the alleged misappropriation of patients’ private funds in health care facilities receiving payments under the Medicaid program.
(d) Refer to the Office of Statewide Prosecution or the appropriate state attorney all violations indicating a substantial potential for criminal prosecution.
(e) Refer to the agency all suspected abusive activities not of a criminal or fraudulent nature.
(f) Safeguard the privacy rights of all individuals and provide safeguards to prevent the use of patient medical records for any reason beyond the scope of a specific investigation for fraud or abuse, or both, without the patient’s written consent.
(g) Publicize to state employees and the public the ability of persons to bring suit under the provisions of the Florida False Claims Act and the potential for the persons bringing a civil action under the Florida False Claims Act to obtain a monetary award.
(10) In carrying out the duties and responsibilities under this section, the Attorney General may:
(a) Enter upon the premises of any health care provider, excluding a physician, participating in the Medicaid program to examine all accounts and records that may, in any manner, be relevant in determining the existence of fraud in the Medicaid program, to investigate alleged abuse or neglect of patients, or to investigate alleged misappropriation of patients’ private funds. A participating physician is required to make available any accounts or records that may, in any manner, be relevant in determining the existence of fraud in the Medicaid program, alleged abuse or neglect of patients, or alleged misappropriation of patients’ private funds. The accounts or records of a non-Medicaid patient may not be reviewed by, or turned over to, the Attorney General without the patient’s written consent.
(b) Subpoena witnesses or materials, including medical records relating to Medicaid recipients, within or outside the state and, through any duly designated employee, administer oaths and affirmations and collect evidence for possible use in either civil or criminal judicial proceedings.
(c) Request and receive the assistance of any state attorney or law enforcement agency in the investigation and prosecution of any violation of this section.
(d) Seek any civil remedy provided by law, including, but not limited to, the remedies provided in ss. 68.081-68.092 and 812.035 and this chapter.
(e) Refer to the agency for collection each instance of overpayment to a provider of health care under the Medicaid program which is discovered during the course of an investigation.
History.—s. 50, ch. 91-282; s. 6, ch. 94-251; s. 2, ch. 96-280; s. 6, ch. 96-387; s. 2, ch. 97-290; s. 6, ch. 2000-163; s. 31, ch. 2002-400; s. 8, ch. 2004-344; s. 19, ch. 2009-223.